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NHS Connecting for Health

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 29 June 2007, Official Report, column 885W, on NHS Connecting for Health, which communications agency established the link; how much Connecting for Health has paid that agency; and which other communications agencies have had contracts with Connecting for Health, and at what value. (154652)

The communications agency concerned is Good Relations. Payments made to the agency for services provided to NHS Connecting for Health from 1 April 2005, when NHS Connecting for Health came into being, to 26 September 2007, total £509,263 including VAT.

NHS Connecting for Health also holds, or has held, contacts with Fishburn Hedges, and with Porter Novelli, payments to whom, over the same period, total £2,881,595 including VAT.

NHS Connecting for Health recognises the need for clear and accurate communications with the public and other stakeholder groups, including national health service staff. A key priority for successful implementation of an effective, national information technology system—a central plank of national health service modernisation—is to ensure that the public and stakeholders are fully informed and have an awareness and understanding of the benefits. The agencies concerned were appointed to assist in this important communication process and to produce supporting materials.

The contracts have delivered value for money. Examples of outputs include videos to explain the new systems and services; exhibition stands and an outdoor exhibition trailer to support face-to-face engagement; millions of copies of associated guidance material, posters and information packs for NHS staff and patients; and implementation advice and case studies for local NHS bodies that demonstrate the value of the programme, how benefits can be realised and lessons learned from implementations.